Summary and Conclusion
This study has endeavored to examine the matter of Bible prophecy, which is much like a huge jigsaw puzzle. And as anyone who has ever worked such a puzzle will agree, the best strategy to begin is to find the edge pieces and corners. This was the rationale for first establishing the scope and boundaries of the whole Bible, the distinctive identities and destinies of Israel and the church, and the conviction that since death only began as a result of the curse of sin, then the removal of that curse means the end of mortality.
It is by no means any claim to perfection or to having solved riddles that have eluded scholars and Bible students for centuries. But at the very least, it has been a sincere effort to provide guidelines for interpretation, and a plan for working toward a goal. We often miss out on the treasures found in scripture by not asking enough questions or the right questions. Or we approach the text without any plan at all, nor any effort at seeking out what God has placed before us. While it can be good for the beginning Bible student to simply listen, there is great reward in researching these things for ourselves. And of course, we need to ask for guidance from the One who inspired the text.
One might sincerely ask why the study of prophecy is of much value, since most people who have ever lived will never have experienced its fulfillment. Yet Jesus told his disciples of things to come that would never happen in their lifetime. But in spite of that, he told them to stay alert. In his parable about the master who was gone a long time (Luke 12:35–46), he showed that his return, like that of the master in the parable, would be sudden and unexpected. But scripture also teaches that for those who watch and wait, staying alert and being ready to go, this event will not take them by surprise or find them sleeping or misbehaving. Still, we do not know the precise day or hour of his return.
Another purpose of studying Bible prophecy is that its fulfillment proves its divine origin. God himself said as much in Isaiah 46:10, and it has been what sets the Bible apart from all other religious texts. We may not be able to solve every puzzle, but the effort not only causes us to know the Bible better, it also deepens our appreciation for what God has done and will do, and it can strengthen our faith. The God who “knows the end from the beginning” is a God who can be trusted.